Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Chris Ryall
Artists: Tony Atkins, John Livesay, Bob Wiacek, Leonard O’Grady
Released: 8th July 2015
To open on a marginally silly, but undoubtedly important note – it being one of my primary gripes with issue #1 – the red hat has made its debut appearance. I know, exciting right?! Had I known this was going to be the hat’s origin story, I’d’ve stayed quiet. I take everything I said about its absence last month back. Humble and deep apologies to all.
But seriously, the fact that the grin on my chops as I was thumbing through this issue widened out to ear-to-ear at the panel where the hat finds its home speaks volumes as to how much I’m enjoying this series, and it’s only just gotten going. It’s the writing that does it – it is and remains deliciously Adamsian. Though it does remain to be seen as to whether Ryall can pull together the incredibly number of plot threads in a meaningful way, the dialogue is absolutely pitch perfect, elegantly capturing the laconic mania of our hero, and perfectly balancing the silliness with driving the plot forward, albeit in the traditionally ramshackle, Gently way.
The art is something of a conundrum this issue – it would appear that they’re got a new inker aboard for this issue in the form of Bob Wiacek, and whilst objectively he’s neither better nor worse than John Livesay, there’s a distinct shift in line execution from page to page is a tad unsettling. Still, O’Grady’s colouring remains vibrant, and overall, the series is maintaining a stylised reality that’s rather engaging. Of particular note is a two-page spread towards the end of the issue that sees Dirk moving through a party that’s hiding an… embalm-y secret. It’s a terrifically effective bit of storytelling.
Overall, this still hasn’t proven itself essential if you aren’t an Adams fan already – though I would of course question the sanity of not being one, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, and if you don’t share that one, you’ll like-as-not wonder what all the fuss is about. But if you’re like me and were sold on the first issue, this pushes the story forward in fun and interesting ways. What’s more, it does look like Ryall is building up a story whose payoff is going to be utterly delightful. I can’t wait for the next issue.
The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24